Follow-up invasive angiograms to check if a SCAD has healed are not recommended for SCAD patients as there is a small risk of causing dissections with the catheters used during these procedures. However, recent studies show that virtually all SCADs heal by themselves between three and six months after the SCAD event.

Dr Adlam discusses options for checking for healing (starts at 17 mins)

Sometimes, if the SCAD is in the larger parts of the coronary arteries, a follow-up coronary CT scan can be done to confirm healing, but this is not a good option for SCADs that were in smaller arteries as the spatial resolution of CT isn’t good enough to assess this with any accuracy. CT scans involve X-rays (with a small lifetime associated cancer risk) and in patients without symptoms, follow-up scans rarely highlight any important findings.

For patients with ongoing chest pain, a stress test (using imaging such as MRI or exercise) can be done to confirm there is no persisting issue with the blood supply to the heart.

Watch Dr David Adlam, who is leading the UK SCAD research, discuss checking for healing in this video (starts at 17 minutes).

Click on the sections below to find out more about Medications and SCAD, Chest Pain after SCAD, Cardiac Rehab and Exercise after SCAD.